Supreme Court Puts Off Start of Early Voting in Ohio

Image: The Supreme Court building in Washington
The Supreme Court building in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014, following various court decisions.Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP file

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

A divided Supreme Court has put off the start of early voting in Ohio, which had been slated to begin Tuesday. The justices' order by a 5-4 vote Monday granted a request from Ohio officials who wanted to delay a judge's ruling lengthening the swing state's early voting schedule.

Ohioans can vote absentee by mail or in person ahead of Election Day. Early voting will now start on Oct. 7, under a state law that was supported by Republican lawmakers.

Ohio's elections chief quickly reissued voting times following Monday's order from the high court.

The schedule from Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted scraps evening hours and an additional Sunday required by U.S. District Judge Peter Economus' decision. Ohioans will have two Saturdays and the Sunday prior to the Nov. 4 election to cast an early ballot.

Economus' ruling had moved the start of early voting to Tuesday and required Husted to set an expanded schedule. It came in a lawsuit over two election-related measures challenged by civil rights groups and others.

In a brief order, the high court put the judge's ruling on hold, at least until the justices can decide whether to hear the state's appeal. As a practical matter, though, the order ends the legal wrangling over the start of early voting this year.

The court's five conservatives, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, voted to grant Ohio's request. The four liberals, Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, would have let early voting begin Tuesday.


- The Associated Press